CNN Figures It Can Soak Tom Steyer For Couple Million By Pretending It Costs Money To Appear In Debate

DES MOINES, IA—Speculating that the candidate would not raise an objection to any sum they named, CNN officials reported Tuesday that they figured the network could soak Tom Steyer for a few million simply by pretending that it costs money to appear in that evening’s debate. “Here’s what I’m thinking: We just rattle off an email to Tom’s campaign mentioning that we hadn’t gotten his $2.5 million debate fee, see if any of his staffers bat an eye, and then take things from there,” said CNN president Jeff Zucker, noting that his team had already received prompt and courteous payment from Steyer’s campaign after sending them an itemized list suggesting the network required reimbursement for the candidate’s podium and microphone alongside a per-question fee for Wolf Blitzer’s time. “Early on, I told one of his chief aides that we were going to bill them for every word he uttered, and he just nodded and said ‘uh-huh, sounds good.’ God, he was actually surprised that we were charging them so much less than PBS had at the last debate.” At press time, Steyer was spotted frantically searching his suit pockets after a stage tech informed the businessman that he had failed to compensate the network with $500 for its customary entrance fee.

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